Wedding Day tips...

21st January 2014
I know how stressful a wedding day can be, I've been around a lot of them.
Even the lead up to a wedding - the planning, the booking, arrangements etc - where do you start... what sort of things might you have forgotten about ?

Here's a shortened version of a PDF we offer for free to any couple planning a wedding.... it's mostly photography based things, but feel free to email or comment here with any questions at all.

Also if you'd like the full PDF tips & ideas sheet emailed to you... just let me know...

Hints & Tips for your wedding day (photography based) *Short Version


Photography options
Do you want photo coverage of just “The Essentials”… the arrivals at the ceremony, the family group shots and some great bride & groom portraits? Or do you want to extend coverage to the 1st dances? The most exciting shots are always covered in The Essential packages, but a lot of couples like extra coverage to include the start of the evening reception.
We get asked all the time “what’s best”, but it really is down to the couple. Budget comes into it as well. But some couples have to think about what their evening guests are like at dances. If, after the 1st dance the couple and the guests just sit and have a drink for a while, there will be no photo opportunities and no point in paying for extra coverage. On the other hand, a big bunch of guys & gals enjoying the band/disco can make for some great pictures.
Adding coverage to the 1st dances does add to the cost, as it can double the time that a photographer is available for you.
Have a look at what wedding pictures you have liked in the past, and see how many include dancing shots. Most of the wow photos are probably taken during the day, but some couples like to see the first dance photos as a reminder of that part of the day too.

Minister & photos
Always ask whoever is conducting your ceremony about their thoughts and rules on photography. Some church ministers don’t allow any photos during the whole ceremony, others have slightly easier rules. But ask anyway. As a professional, I will always work within the rules given, but I always try to stay as discrete as possible. Some celebrants are put off from previous bad experiences where photographers have spoiled the day (their words not mine). Ask anyway, as if you want lots of loving photos during the vows, gazing into each other eyes as you say “I do” … check we’re allowed to.

The nice photos
Lots of couples (probably most actually) book their photographer as they like their portfolio of photos, the style and the lovely bride & groom pictures. This happens a lot with us too, but couples have to bear in mind, while photographs aren’t the be all and end all of a wedding day… we get one chance to get this day captured for ever. There are some weddings where the couple will want to spend every minute with their friends and think, “the photos we have so far will be fine.” . But if between the couple and the photographer, a little time and thought doesn’t get put into small sections of the day, you might miss out on those special shots. I always make sure I’m working with the couple, never demanding too much or taking over the day, but I’ll sometimes ask nicely “It’s a lovely sky out there, can we do 10 minutes…?”
At most weddings there is usually around an hour to get the photos taken. This includes any formal & family group shots as well as the nice bride & groom pics. It’s amazing though how fast that time goes so we all have to have a game plan ready, and use the time as best possible.
We always work with you and advise on how best to use the time to suit your day.

Disasters & Stress
Every wedding has something that happens that wasn’t supposed to have. At the time it will seem like a disaster… but the day will happen, the wedding will go ahead, and later that day, you’ll wonder why it caused such stress.
I’ve seen the same “disaster” happen at many weddings, and each bride or groom reacts differently every time, but on every occasion, as they are enjoying their day… they are always laughing about those small things. It will seem hard at first, but with so many people and so many details all happening in a short space of time, things will go astray. Just enjoy the day regardless; it’s all what helps make your day unique.

Wedding coordinator
Are you having an official wedding co-ordinator… or perhaps the venue of the wedding has a manager that runs everything?
Some couples plan for unique things to happen, or maybe a tradition they want to follow like tying bands, creeling etc. But it’s good to make sure whoever is running the wedding knows about the events, and the photographer is kept in the loop.
We have been at a few weddings when we have been made aware of what the couple want to do, but no-one (sometimes including the couple) know when it’s going to happen. This can lead to confusion when caterers bar managers & photographers all think one thing is supposed to happen, but the couple ask… “Can we do our thing now?”. It’s best to make sure all the fine details are ironed out in advance.

Bad weather plan
A photographer will have Plan B ready, sometimes even Plan C in the event of bad weather, but just make sure you do too. It’s great to plan gorgeous photo ideas, but you might be left having all the photos in a hotel lobby if the venues chosen don’t have access to somewhere to go for photos.
Some venues have great places to go inside that can accommodate for the family photos and some nice bride & groom shots, but others might not offer a good choice. We’ve done a few weddings where we’ve pre-booked another place to go inside for a wet weather plan.

Important & vital photo sections of the day
A photographer will try to cover all the important parts of a wedding day… with priority given (when possible) to the actual ceremony. Next in priority is some lovely bride & groom photos, although some of your aunts and uncles might want a photo with you, so we must try to cover all the family/group shots.
It’s also great to get the bride getting ready, then in her wedding gown with dad, also catching the groom and his best man all nervous, shots of the wedding rings etc. But all these shots rely on the guys being there on time, the girls running to schedule with hair dressers & make-up-artists. Sometimes great shots have to be missed as time runs away for one reason or another. Try to get all the people involved running on time as best possible and the day will go smoothly 

At the end of the day…
Enjoy your wedding!
LOTS of people will tell you the day goes by so fast. It really does. With so much going on, before you know it… you’ll be at 10pm, having some buffet and wondering where your day went.

If you have ANY questions at all about your wedding day, or wedding days in general, feel free to give me a ring anytime on 01368 864500 or 07415 878244


Grahame Smith
GWS Photography, Dunbar

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